Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Engage with Grace -- Reprise

Last Thanksgiving weekend, many of us bloggers participated in the first documented “blog rally” to promote Engage With Grace – a movement aimed at having all of us understand and communicate our end-of-life wishes.

It was a great success, with over 100 bloggers in the healthcare space and beyond participating and spreading the word. Plus, it was timed to coincide with a weekend when most of us are with the very people with whom we should be having these tough conversations – our closest friends and family.

Our original mission – to get more and more people talking about their end of life wishes – hasn’t changed. But it’s been quite a year – so we thought this holiday, we’d try something different.

A bit of levity.

At the heart of Engage With Grace are five questions designed to get the conversation started. We’ve included them at the end of this post. They’re not easy questions, but they are important.

To help ease us into these tough questions, and in the spirit of the season, we thought we’d start with five parallel questions that ARE pretty easy to answer:

Silly? Maybe. But it underscores how having a template like this – just five questions in plain, simple language – can deflate some of the complexity, formality and even misnomers that have sometimes surrounded the end-of-life discussion.

So with that, we’ve included the five questions from Engage With Grace below. Think about them, document them, share them.

Over the past year there’s been a lot of discussion around end of life. And we’ve been fortunate to hear a lot of the more uplifting stories, as folks have used these five questions to initiate the conversation.

One man shared how surprised he was to learn that his wife’s preferences were not what he expected. Befitting this holiday, The One Slide now stands sentry on their fridge.

Wishing you and yours a holiday that’s fulfilling in all the right ways.

To learn more please go to www.engagewithgrace.org. This post was written by Alexandra Drane and the Engage With Grace team. If you want to reproduce this post on your blog (or anywhere) you can download a ready-made html version here


Anonymous said...

Last year I had a discussion with my loved one because of the blog rally and unfortunately it actually came into play in Sept. when she was diagnosed with end stage pancreatic cancer. Something that we did not anticipate but really must be brought to light, especially with elderly couples; often the primary advocate is so distraught at the probability of losing their 47+ year partner, emotions cloud key judgement. We experienced battles with my uncle over increasing pain meds., etc. and hospice walked such a fine line because he, as her health proxy could have asked them to leave at any time (as we were told). So in addition to having a discussion regarding these end of life questions -- elderly couples really need to think about whether their spouse will truly be able to carry out their wishes when the time comes.

Anonymous said...

First, Paul, on an unrelated issue: is your blog searchable? I recommended it to someone who claimed no one was paying attention to patient safety, but could not cite chapter and verse among your posts.

Second, I agree with anon 11:48 that there are unexpected occurences when illness does actually strike. When my 88 yr old mom, who does have an advanced directive, was recently in the ER to R/O stroke, they asked her if she wanted to be resuscitated should she suffer a cardiac arrest. Her answer was "I'd like someone to at least try."
If they had asked me instead, I would have made her a DNR (do not resuscitate), based on what I thought she said in her advanced directive. So you can only spell it out so much - and then the family just has to do the best they can, and live with knowing they have done that. Although imperfect, an advanced directive is better than never addressing the issue at all.

nonlocal MD

Anonymous said...

To search, use the box in the upper left-hand corner.